Does A Website Presenter Improve Conversions?

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What Are The Benefits Of A Website Presenter? 

If you visit the websites for Virgin Holidays, IoEE, Lettingref.comSheraton Hotels, Surefit Carpets, or many other sites you may come across a virtual website presenter or greeter. A video spokesperson normally features a transparent background to create the impression that they are standing on your website and this means they grab attention. It can also reduce your bounce rate and improve your conversion rate.

Most websites use a video of real person for their web presenter as this can have more impact than an animated figure, but animation is another option for you to consider.

A website presenter can be an effective way of getting engagement when a visitor first arrives or your site to assist the onboarding process. A website presenter can also help explain up-sell or cross-sell during a key step in a customer journey.

Virgin Holidays achieved a 30% uplift in seat upgrades by using a MWP web presenter, whilst Lettingref.com managed a 9% increase in online sign ups that went onto make a deposit by using
a virtual greeter to introduce and explain their service. Econsultancy on the other hand employed a web presenter to explain their membership plans and increased sign ups by 15%.

Real Human Website Presenter: 

Here are some video website greeter companies that I have come across.

 1. Bellmedia: Offers high quality video website presenter and video web banners. Cost includes 12-month free video hosting.

Source: Bellmedia

2. Innovatemedia: Employs actors and actresses to deliver a real human website presenter for your website to improve engagement and increase conversion. Choose from their talent database or from 2 to 3 actors and actresses at each shoot day.

Source: Innovatemedia

3. Model2web: Allows you to view and select from models on their website to create a virtual spokesperson for your website to improve engagement and sales. Prices start from $79 with no monthly fee, cost is a one off payment, with no hosting fee.

Source: Model2web

4. Studios1: Delivers video web presenter to engage visitors as they land on your site. Offers over 150 actors and actresses to choose from.

Source: Studios1

5. Vopres: Real-human video presenters to inspire trust, increase sales and reduce customer service costs. Prices start from £395 for a 60 second video (minimum order of 3 videos).

Source: Vopres

Animated Video Presenters:

1. SitePal: Displays an animated speaking avatar to greet visitors to your site to improve engagement and reduce bounce rates. 15 day Free trial available. Over 250 stock avatars which can be customized, including using your own uploaded images and have an API for advanced functionality.

Source: SitePal

2. CodeBaby: Offers a range of customized animated avatar solutions for both self-service and e-learning needs. Self-service includes conversion optimization which uses emotionally intelligent response segments to direct the customer experience towards your business goal. Other solutions include benefits, health and service adviser.

Source: CodeBaby

User Experience Tools To Improve Conversions

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User Experience Tools For CRO:

Minimising friction in the customer experience is crucial to conversion rate optimisation. User experience tools that show you where and how your visitors interact with your site can provide valuable insights into where the pain points are in your customer journey.

User experience tools allow you to watch real customers browse your site and produce click and mouse movement heatmaps to understand where they interact with a screen. You can also create and track conversion funnels so that you can see where the big drop-off points are on your site. Form analytics tell you which input fields visitors often miss out and exactly how long each input field takes to complete. Some user experience tools also provide on-site polls and surveys.

This is why user experience tools are useful for conversion optimisation and a must for anyone wanting to better understand the customer experience. At one time user experience tools would cost thousands of pounds a month. But now suppliers such as Hotjar are offering less than £100 a month and have expanded the market by targeting small and medium sized organisations. For native apps there are user experience tools like UXcam to understand your mobile customer experience.

Solutions For Native Mobile Apps:

1. Flightrecorder (Now part of Contentsquare):

A mobile app analytics platform which provides screen recordings of user actions, touch heatmaps, crash reports and app analytics reporting.

The tool records touches, user location, network status, device orientation, language, time zone and more.

No pricing information.

Image of Clicktale.com for apps page

2. UXCam:

A mobile app analytics tool which automatically captures screen recordings and touch interactions on your app. This provides heatmaps and also identifies user drop-off points.

Offers two plans. Up to 20,000 monthly user sessions for $59 a month. Or up to 100,000 sessions for $249 a month.image of UXcam.com homepage

Solutions For Websites:

1. Contentsquare:

Contentsquare offer a full suite of solutions, including heatmaps (mouse moves, clicks, attention, scroll reach & link analytics), session playback recordings, real-time monitor, conversion funnels, and form analytics.

For websites the advanced filtering feature allows you to search for recordings of specific scenarios or events and segment your heatmaps (e.g.by new and returning visitors).

The page console provides you with in-page web analytics about any individual page. Including engagement time, page views, bounce rate and lots more. Site reports can also show pages by load speed, engagement, clicks, scroll reach and errors.

No pricing information is displayed on their site, but the cost is based on page views. Data is saved for 30 or 60 days.

image of Clicktale.com homepage

2. Crazy Egg: 

Primarily a heatmap tool that shows clicks, mouse movements, and scroll maps. The overlay tool shows you the number of clicks on each element on the page. Confetti displays every click on a page segmented by source of traffic. It is also able to handle multiple domains, iFrames and flash objects.

All plans are Free for the first 30 days, but if you to to Toole.io you can get 3 months free. The Basic plan costs just $9 a month for up to 10,000 visits a month, 10 active pages and daily reports. The Standard plan $19 a month goes up to 25,000 visits per month and 20 active pages. Pro plan costs $99 a month and offers up to 250,000 visits per month, up to 100 active pages, hourly reporting, advanced filtering, mobile heatmaps and multiple users.

image of crazyegg.com homepage

3. Decibel Insight:

An enterprise user experience tool with a full suite of solutions including dynamic heatmaps (clicks, attention, scroll, time and attribution), session recordings, form analytics, advanced segmentation, and email alerts.

Attribution heatmaps enable you to map interactions to content, and monitor clicks, goals and revenue. The time heatmaps allow analysis of visitor behaviour during your sites busiest time to spot and target the dead time.

The session recordings accurately records dynamic content interaction, drop-downs, responsive sites, carousels & forms. Decibel Insight also offers a mobile solution, and integrates with web analytics, voice of the customer and A/B testing tools.

There is a choice of either a Free plan or an Enterprise plan. The Free plan goes up to 5,000 page views per month and offers starter heatmaps, session recordings, date and device filtering and pre-built channels. Sessions recordings are kept for just 7 days and data is retained for 1 month.

The Enterprise plan is negotiable and allows for over 250,000 page views per month. It also offers all of the above and customisable channels, advanced segmentation, inbound campaign tracking, advanced heatmaps, form analytics, JavaScript error reports and behavioural alerts. Data is saved for 12 months and session recordings 45+ days.

image of decibelinsight.com homepage

4. Hotjar:

Probably the fastest growing of the new user experience tools as it offers a great suite of features at a competitive price. Hotjar offers standard heatmaps, form analytics, session replays, conversion funnels, surveys, feedback polls and also recruits user testers. For more details see my review of Hotjar and sign up for free if you have less than 2,000 page views per day.

The Basic Free plan samples up to 2,000 page views per day, 300 session recordings, 3 funnels. Up to 1,000 visitors per heatmap and forms, plus 3 polls, surveys and recruiters.

The Business plan is priced on a sliding scale based upon daily page views. This starts from €89 a month for up to 20,000 views a day and goes up €589 a month for up to 400,000 views a day.

Image of Hotjar.com homepage

5. Inspectlet:

One of the most comprehensive of the user experience tools on the market. It offers heatmaps (mouse movements, clicks and scroll), session recordings, form analytics and conversion funnels. The session recording feature has advanced filtering capabilities including new/returning visitors, visit duration and source of traffic. Their JavaScript tagging API enables you to upload any Meta data you want to associate with a user or session. You can also use this tag to identify individual users and bring up their recording.

Conversion funnels allow you to define a series of pages that leads towards a goal. Form analytics features a hesitation report which shows how much time on average visitors are hesitating on each input field. The hesitation algorithm tracks a variety of signals that helps to determine whether a visitor is engaged or hesitating.

Inspectlet has a Free plan for a single website, and up to 100 session recordings a month together with the heatmap suite. The Micro plan costs $39 per month (up to 5,000 recordings) for a single website and account user.

Accelerate is their more comprehensive plan which is priced at $299 a month (up to 125,000 recordings & 20 websites). This plan allows for multiple account users and provides conversion funnel analytics and in-depth form analytics. They also offer an Enterprise plan for larger organisations.

image of inspectlet.com homepage

6. Luckyorange:

Offers a full package including heatmaps (mouse movements, clicks and scrolls), session recordings, conversion funnels, form analytics, live chat and visitor polls. The dashboard allows you to monitor real-time analytics to see how many people are on your site, compare historical statistics and see what keywords, locations, referrers, tweets, languages and more are driving traffic and behaviour on your site.

The session recordings feature allows you to search by behavioural tags so that you can see for example visitors who abandon their basket or visited a product page but did not check-out. The form analytics provides data on which fields are most often the last abandoned, time to start, time spent on each field, the order visitors filled out each field and which fields are repeated the most.

7 day Free trial available on the Small plan. The Small plan costs $10 per month and gives you up to 50,000 page view per month across 3 sites and data lasts for 30 days. The X-Large plans is priced at $100 a month for 100,000 page views and 25 sites. All visitors are recorded until the monthly maximum is reached and will not re-start until you either upgrade or the month ends.

Image of Luckyorange.com homepage

7. Mouseflow:

A comprehensive user experience tool with heatmaps (move movements, clicks and scrolls), session recordings (including mobile gestures), link analytics, and form analytics. The form analytics lets you watch visitors’ keystrokes and how the form fills as they interact with your site.

Offers a limited Free plan for up to 100 recordings a month for a single website. Subscription plans start with the Small plan for $15 a month. This provides up to 1,000 recorded sessions for one website and a month’s storage of data.

The Extra Large plan costs $299 a month and gives you up to 100,000 recorded sessions for 30 websites and 3 months storage. An enterprise plan is also available for over a million recorded sessions.

Image of Mouseflow.com homepage

8. Glassbox:

A full service tool which offers heatmaps (mouse movements, clicks, scrolls and browser attention), session recordings (including from mobile devices) , conversion funnels, and form analytics.

You can use their API to feed data recorded in real-time into your own CRM systems to respond automatically to targeted events. They also integrate third party solutions such as Google Analytics, Campaign Monitor, Cheetahmail and Olark.

Glassbox target organisations with over 500,000 page impressions a month and does not display any pricing on its site. Cost is based upon page impressions.

image sessioncam.com homepage

9. TruConversion:

A recently launched user experience tool offers a comprehensive range of tools including session recordings, heatmaps, user polls and surveys, form analytics, and conversion funnels.

Pricing: The Basic plan costs just $41 a month for up to 110,000 monthly page views. The Plus plan costs $83 a month for up to 275,000 monthly page views and the Pro plan is $149 a month for up to 550,000 monthly page views.

Image of Truconversion.com homepage

10. Howuku:

Finally, Howuku is a popular budget alternative to Hotjar. Despite its low cost the solution offers a full range of features including session recordings, heatmaps, funnels, polls, A/B testing, event tracking and more. The website console is intuitive to use and it’s easy to set up heatmaps and start recording users. They give you an initial 14 day free trial period to allow you to fully evaluate the platform.

Plans start from just $16 a month for a single website and up to 20,000 pageviews. Their Growth plan costs just $36 a month for 5 websites and up to 100,000 pageviews. The Premium plan also allows you to track up to 15 websites for just $80 a month and to track up to 500,000 pageviews.

Howuku.com homepage

13 Customer Onboarding Tools To Boost Conversions

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Why Customer Onboarding Tools?

Research by the Nielsen Norman Group indicates that most visitors will take just 10 to 12 seconds to decide whether to exit a webpage if it doesn’t sufficiently engage them. Customer onboarding tools can help reduce anxiety and improve engagement. Users know that websites are of highly variable quality and are ruthlessly looking to abandon the dross as soon as they can. So if there is any room for confusion over what the next step in the user journey might be you can be sure this will adversely affect your conversion rate.

“People know that most web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages.” – Jakob Nielsen – NNG

Why not try improve the onboarding process by giving visitors assistance with navigation guidance or tutorials? Why leave it to chance that users will understand how to use a new feature or know what the next step in the sign-up process is. Give them some help and improve your conversion rate by using one or more of the following customer onboarding tools.

13 Top Customer Onboarding Tools:

Here are summarises of top customer onboarding tools to guide and educate your new visitors. Reduce your bounce rate and improve engagement by giving your new customers all the help they need in real-time.

1. Appcues: 

A customer onboarding tool that serves tooltip-style messages/action to provide a product tour to ensure visitors understand how to navigate or get the most out of feature. It also offers a full-screen ‘Welcome page’, a slide-out and in-app alert. You can inform your customers of new features using bold messaging with a video, gif or coach marks to engage visitors to try out your new enhancement. In addition, Appcues allows you to segment visitors using intelligent targeting so that you can show the right experience to the appropriate user at the best time to improve conversion.

Pricing: Plans start from $99 a month for up to 1,000 monthly
active users (MAUs) who are defined as visitors who sign-in to your platform in any given month. The ‘Growth’ plan starts from $699 a month for up to 20,000 MAU’s and there is a ‘Custom’ plan for large enterprises which offers unlimited MAU’s.

2. Evergage: 

This is a real-time personalisation platform which offers the ability to record how visitors behave and respond to them to improve engagement and conversion rates. The platform monitors the actions of visitors to identify their intentions and needs. This allows you to send users messages to help promote demos to improve new customer engagement levels.

Pricing: Contact Evergage for a quotation based upon your specific needs.

3. HelloBar: 

One of the best free customer on boarding tools as this displays a visible bar that sits at the top of a web page to draw the web visitors’ attention. HelloBar acts as a primary website call-to-action. You can include HelloBar on one page, several pages, or across your entire website.

4. Helppier:

This is an online customer support tool that allows you to create interactive user guides and onboarding walkthroughs. It aims to create sequential instructions to interactively guide users on your website of app.

Pricing: 15 day free trial available. No costs shown on the website.

5. Hopscotch:

This is a community of developers who have created a framework to add product tours to your site. If you want a do-it-yourself solution created by your own developers this could be for you.

Pricing: For the Developer plan the price is $7 per month, $9 for the Team plan and from $21 for the Business plan.

6. InlineManual:

Offers the ability to create walkthroughs, tooltips, Launchers and support articles for web applications.

Pricing: The cost of the solution is dependent upon the number of active users you have and the plan you select. For 10,000 active users the Standard plan would cost $208 per month, the Standard Pro would be $307 per month and the Enterprise plan $1,220 per month.

7. Intercom.oi:

Offers an extensive range of customer onboarding solutions from live chat, targeted email and in-app messages, gathering of customer feedback and providing customer support inside your web or mobile app, and by email. The platform provides real-time analytics of what is happening on your site and allows you to segment visitors to deliver targeted messaging when they return to your site or app (e.g. inform them about a new release or promotion).

image of intercom.io onboarding solutions
Source: intercom.io onboarding solutions

Pricing: All single solutions (e.g. Live Chat) start from $49 a month and an additional product can be added from $4 a month.

8. Iridize:

This customer onboarding tool monitors and analyses browsing behaviour to serve prominent and relevant messaging to assist user navigation when likely to be most effective on your website. You can set rule-based messaging, including timers, triggers and conditions for your messaging to improve their relevance. Segment messages for specific groups or even individuals based upon rules and visitor activity on your website.

In addition the tool allows you to A/B test messages, text, design and timing to understand what works best. You can also sync across devices to ensure users can continue a user journey from where they left off. Free Net Promoter Score (NPS) also available.

image of iridize.com homepage
Source: iridize.com

Pricing: A free plan is available for up to 100 users and simple tooltips. The ‘Professional’ plan has a free trial period for you to try out the solution and agree a price with Iridize. The is also an enterprise ‘Customized’ plan for large organisation.

9. Joyride:

This is tool gives users a virtual tour or your website or app. It is programmed to be cross-browser compatible and Joyride version 2 has many new features. This includes responsive design, edge-aware tooltips that re-position based on proximity to the edge of the window, depreciated inline positioning of tooltips and better support for right and left aligned tooltips.

10. Lifecycle:

The company acquired Autosend and offers a messaging app and chat bots to create automated personalised behavioural and transctional communications with customers via email, SMS text or in-app messages.

Pricing: The cost is dependent upon the number of active users you have on your site. For 10,000 active users the cost would be $40 per month.

11. Pendo:

This solution uses in-app walkthroughs to guide users through the onboarding process and uses analytics to track their progress. Pendo offers in-app walkthroughs to guide users through common tasks and features to drive preferred behaviours. It can personalise the onboarding experience by using data to deliver individually personalised guidance to improve the relevance of the process.

Image of Pendo.io homepage which offers customer onboarding tools
Source: Pendo.io

12. WalkMe:

If you are evaluating customer onboarding tools then you definitely should consider Walkme. The platform displays highly visible tabs adjacent to the next recommended navigation call to action. This encourages self-service, accelerates training and software adoption, improves conversion, reduces customer service costs and improve the customer experience. It can also be used to train employees to use online CRM and marketing tools to boost their productivity.

Pricing: A basic free plan overs 3 walk-thrus, up to 5 steps per walk-thru and 300 assists per month. The ‘Custom’ plan offers unlimited walk-thrus and assists, with multiple support options and multiple domains. Contact Walkme for a quote.

Image of WalkMe.com homepage which is one of many customer onboarding tools
Source: WalkMe.com

13. Whatfix:

This solution allows you to design interactive product tours, onboarding task lists and deliver just-in-time contextual guidance. Whatfix helps users to quickly develop a high level of application competency to improve engagement and conversions. The solution also allows user-level segmentation to create a personalised user onboarding experience.

Pricing: Complete the form on the Whatfix website to get a personalised quote.

Conclusion:

New customer onboarding tools can help educate and guide users to improve engagement and reduce bounce rates on landing pages. Customer onboarding tools have been known to significantly improve conversions when implemented appropriately. Whether it’s a website or an app, research has shown that unless users quickly become confident about how to navigate a site they will leave within the first 10 seconds. People are generally impatient and lazy browsers of the web. So, don’t leave anything to chance and see if one of these customer onboarding tools will help solve your new customer engagement problem.

Why Does Usability Testing Improve Conversions?

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Why Should You Do Usability Testing?

To create a pain free user experience and optimise conversion it is essential to carry out usability testing research. Sure, you can ask a few people around the office to check out your new site, but it is more important to get feedback from ‘real users’ who do not work in e-commerce and are not connected to your business.

Psychology tells us that as we concentrate on a task or project we are prone to see what we expect to see because our visual cortex unconsciously takes the decision to filter out things that it regards as less important to achieving a task. This is why we often miss the most obvious mistakes if we proof read our own work. Usability testing removes this filter as it does not rely on our own opinions.

IKEA Effect

We also get too close to our pet projects and as a result we overvalue the things we create, (see the IKEA effect). As a result we are not the best people to evaluate websites that we helped to create. Anyone connected to your business may also suffer from some of the same cognitive biases or may just not want to hurt your feelings. Usability testing avoids these biases by getting the views of ‘real users’, that is people not connected with your organisation.

Image of lady lying on the ground next to laptop. Usability testing can help prevent user frustration.

Source: Freeimages.com

Usability testing is not about proving or disproving something works or not. It is about informing decisions and giving you insights into how users interact with your website. If you need a definitive answer then you really should be conducting an A/B test. As I pointed out in another post on whether usability research is reflecting real behaviour all research is subject to bias and limitations.

People for instance change their behaviour when they are aware they are being observed. This can be a particular problem for usability testing which is conducted offline. However, it is possible to build procedures into usability testing to minimise this problem. For example you can get the user to complete a few fake tasks to disguise the real test experience.

When Should You test?

Image of ink drawing of the of chairs outside a cafe

Source: Freeimages.com

The earlier you do some usability testing the better as this will allow you to respond to user feedback at each step in the development and design process. Wire frames, prototypes or even drawings can be tested to give you useful feedback before you move onto finished designs.

Don’t use focus groups as usability research needs to deal with one user at a time. Otherwise people can get distracted by what other people are doing and you also need to give them your full attention. It is important that you observe and listen to users and avoid asking questions as people will over-think their behaviour if asked to explain it.

How Should You Test?

Image of an office with a laptop

Source: Freeimages.com

Steve Krug has written an awesome book, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter), which I highly recommend you read. He advocates doing your own usability research if you can. Undoubtedly this is a great idea if you have the time and the equipment. If you have no or very little budget you might as well do this as even one user test is better than none.

However, there are also some affordable online services available, some of which are free. The benefit here is that they can manage all the admin and recruitment for you, plus conduct the usability testing and if required do the analysis. All you have to do is agree the brief. I would still recommend you get videos of your usability tests as you will often learn more from watching people browse your site than from reading a report. A video brings it to life in a way a report cannot.

One other advantage is that such suppliers offer a range of solutions including remote automated usability testing, card sorting for developing your navigation, tree testing to evaluate how easy it is find content on a site and eye-tracking to identify where on page attention is drawn to. Such suppliers can also use their expertise to advise you on how to best design a usability test study.

Who Should You Recruit?

Image of young women on a laptop computer

Source: Freeimages.com

Some usability test solutions, such as Hotjar, offer you the ability to serve pop-ups on your site to recruit your own visitors to complete specific tasks. You can then share screens using Skype or other web meeting tools to observe how successful they are at achieving the set task. Alternatively many suppliers offer the option to recruit testers who match your user demographics.

Don’t get too obsessed though with matching your target audience as usability testing is about understanding how people in general interact with your site. Setting very strict recruitment criteria will just increases the cost and time needed to conduct the testing without adding much value to the outcome.

10 Automated Usability Testing Solutions: 

1. Loop11:

Online usability testing with your first project free (up to 5 tasks and 2 questions). Covers over 40 languages, provides heatmaps and clickstream analysis, real-time reporting, and you can test on mobile devices.

Pricing:Free usability test is available for new customers. Pay as you go costs $350 per project. All plans include 1,000 participants per project, unlimited tasks and questions, testing on mobile, real-time results and 24/7 email support.

The Micro plan costs $158 a month and is designed for organisations with between 1 and 10 employees, plus for non-profits and public sector clients. The SMB plan costs $410 per month and is for 11 to 100 employees. The Enterprise plan is priced at $825 per month.

image of Loop11.com homepage

2. Try My UI:

 Remote usability testing which provides videos of visitors undertaking set tasks on your website. You also get written answers to questions you set. Get your first test for Free – normally costs $35.

Pricing: The Personal plan charges $35 per test credit. A desktop test requires 1 credit, whilst a mobile test costs 2 credits. Includes up to 20 minutes of video and audio feedback, written responses to custom survey questions and the ability to analyse your results with tagged, time stamped annotations.

The Team plan costs $299 per month. This gives you 10 credits per month, testing with your own users for one month, multi-user login, collaborative video annotation, crowd sourced key insights with the UXCrowd, UX diagnostics and the ability to download your video results and test data.

The Enterprise plan is not priced on the website. However, this
includes 100 test credits per month, unlimited testing with your own users, extended 30-minute length for test results and one-click report generation integrated with video playback.

Image of TrymyUI.com homepage

3. UsabilityHub:

UsabilityHub have a great selection of simple but effective usability testing solutions. You can obtain first impressions of your mock-ups and designs, see where visitors want to click or discover how easy visitors find it to navigate your website.

Simply upload an image, and select the type of test you’d like to run.

You can choose from:

  1. Five Second Test to understand people’s first impressions of
    your design.
  2. Click Test to find out where they click and how they interact
    with your interface
  3. Navigation flow test to identify how visitors navigate around your
    website or applications.
  4. Question Test – allows you to conduct fast surveys by uploading an image and asking users questions about the design.

You can then decide how many people you want to be in the test or even recruit your own testers. UsabilityHub then create a report showing a detailed breakdown of the interactions each tester had with your design.

Pricing: Responses from testers you recruit are free. Testers recruited by UsabilityHub cost 1 credit each and responses from testers of specific demographics cost 3 credits each.

The Free Community plan allows you to create unlimited tests, with responses from your own users being free and buy responses from UsabilityHub from $1 each.

The UsabilityHub Pro plan costs $99 a month and allows you to buy responses at 50% off all credit purchases, starting at just 50 cents per response. Create unlimited tests, customize the test experience with messaging and redirection after the test, use a single link for multiple tests in a row and target particular demographics.

image of UsabilityHub.com homepage

4. Usability Sciences:

Established over 25 years ago Usability Sciences offers a full managed service for usability testing, offering a comprehensive range of solutions including card sorting, rapid iterative testing, mobile & tablet user testing and eye-tracking research.

Pricing: No prices shown on the website.

Image of UsabilitySciences.com homepage

5. UserBob: 

Watch videos of real users talking about what they think as they use your website. UserBob recruits people to visit your website. Set a scenario for the user and specify a task for them to attempt to complete. The user then goes to your website and tries to complete your task. During their visit they record their screen and voice as they think out loud about the experience. You then receive a copy of the video to learn about what users say about your site.

You decide how many users you need, what demographics match your visitors, and how long each one should spend on your website. The test is instantly made available for users to participate and you will normally have a video to review within a few hours.

Pricing: Start at just $10 for First Impressions where 10 users will spend one minute each on your website. Users will discuss their first impressions of your website, who they think it is for and what you can do on the site. Task Completion costs $20 for 5 users who spend 4 minutes attempting to complete your task. The price of the Custom test is variable. This involves between 1 to 10 users each spending up to 8 minutes with a specific scenario and user task to complete. You may also specify user demographics for Custom tests.

Image of Userbob.com homepage

6. UserBrain:

Get 5 to 15 minute videos of users recording their experience on your site and identify where the pain points are. Hear what users are thinking on their personal devices and in their natural environment.

7. Userlytics

Omni-channel usability testing solution. Will supply user testers from their panel or recruit to your specific demographic requirements. Alternatively you can recruit participants using a customisable invitation widget, by posting a link on blogs, websites, twitter, by using TaskRabbit, Mechanical Turk, Craiglist or by using a third party panel provider.

Userlytics allows you to test prototypes, videos, mobile apps, display ads, search and social behaviour, desktop and web applications, smart-phones and tablets and websites.

Pricing: Starts from $49 per user tester and depends upon the testing features you require, whether you need respondents recruiting, demographic needs, session length and reporting requirements. Image of Userlytics.com homepage

8. User Testing: 

Get videos in an hour of real people speaking their thoughts as they use your website, apps, prototypes and more. Do it yourself or access User Testing’s on-demand panel of over one million users to find an exact match of your target audience.

You can either select your users and write your own tasks or use the expect research team to complete such tasks as creating and managing tests, long term research road-mapping, moderating tests, annotating videos, analysing videos to identify key findings and creating research presentations.

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $49 per video for the first 10 videos, and then rises to $99 per video. This will provide you with video and audio of your site or app across a full range of devices, 15 minute maximum video length and a storage limit of 25 videos.

The Pro plan offers a Free trial and quote on request. This allows for a maximum video length of 60 minutes, unlimited video storage, screening and video demographic filters, moderated usability testing, competitive benchmarking, user testing with your own customers, highlight reels, customer experience customer experience analytics and for the research team to summarise key findings.

Image of UserTesting.com homepage

9. Peek from User Testing:

Get a Free 5 minute video of a real person using your site.

 Image of Peek/usertesting.com homepage

10. UserZoom:

Finally, UserZoom is an all-in-one SasS customer and usability testing research and analytical solution. They provide a suite of services including recruiting participants for user tests, and research software for mobile and desktop devices, voice of the customer studies, remote usability testing, UX design tools (e.g. card sorting & tree testing) and an online survey tool. In addition they provide support services from defining a study to analysing the data for you.

Pricing: Annual software subscription starts at £19,000 per year. All quotes are customised according your individual requirements and dependent upon the number of user accounts and use of premium features (e.g. UserZoom Recorder and mobile testing capabilities).

Image of UserZoom.com homepage

How To Use Live Chat To Improve Conversions

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What Are The Benefits of Live Chat?

Live chat can help improve visitor engagement, reduce bounce rates and cut operational costs by offering real-time interaction with customers whilst they are on your website. Why wait until visitors have left your site to try and contact them? This is a key tool for conversion rate optimisation and helps to improve your conversion rate in real-time.

Live Chat is the ideal solution for dealing with a number of issues with your website. There are six main benefits of integrating live chat on your site:

Benefits of Live Chat:

Pain points

  • When a customer has a frustration or an unmet need, live chat can help resolve these ‘pain points’ by giving them instant access to a company representative. Web forms are common pain point for many visitors. By adding live chat to forms you can often significantly improve your conversion rate.

Increased sales

  • Live chat is a proven tool for increasing sales because if a customer becomes confused or unsure about something they can be walked through the process. This helps reduce visitors dropping out of key revenue generating customer journeys and puts the company representative in a good position to recommend additional products.
image of live chat box on intuit.com homepage
Source: intuit.com

It gives you a competitive advantage

  • Many websites don’t offer live chat on their websites or only for a limited number of customers (e.g. registered customers). Given the benefits to your customers and your organisation you will be able to leverage it as a competitive advantage. Ensure it is available for new customers, whether on your sign-up form or on your homepage. They often need more assistance than existing customers.

It’s convenient and reassures customers

  • A live chat system provides immediate access to help for customers who may be struggling to find what they are looking for on your website. The presence of live chat also provides reassurance to visitors that they will be able to contact someone easily and conveniently if they do get into difficulties on your website.
image of live chat box on Microsoft.com
Source: Microsoft.com

 It reduces expenses

  • Live chat can save on staff time and phone expenses by lowering average interaction costs and improve contact centre efficiency by enabling employees to handle multiple chats. As staff spend less time on the phone because customers can use live chat to contact Customer Services this means that contact centre operators can multi-task during chat conversations and reduce the waiting queue significantly compared to a traditional call centre.

Live chat allows you to gather feedback about your website

  • Having the ability to communicate directly with visitors whilst they are browsing your website gives you the opportunity to gather feedback on your website and generate ideas for improving the user experience and revenues.

These services can lead to a significant uplift in revenues to provide a substantial return on investment. Here is a link to a great infographic that summarises many of the benefits of live chat.

All the providers listed below offer free trial periods and so you can test them out without making any financial commitment.

Live Chat Providers:

1. Boldchat:

An enterprise chat software that offers innovative features including an automated, tiered chat routing that manages chats between agents and has extensive monitoring and reporting capabilities.

The open API allows surveys, chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively customised. It allows agents to assist visitors to fill out forms, complete purchases in the shopping cart and access technical support. The dashboard also allows agents to see the customer’s referring webpage, keywords they used, their geographical location and their chat history. Free demo.

Image of Boldchat.com home page
Source: Boldchat.com

2. Click4Assistance:

A fully customisable live-chat facility that offers a comprehensive range of features including extensive real-time monitoring, 1 or 2 way video chat, offer demonstrations, ask for feedback or gather leads, and design multiple fully configurable forms. Dashboard allows agents to view how visitor’s arrived at website, their location and much more. Offers full integration with CRM systems, social media platforms and Google Analytics. 21 day Free trial.

Source: click4assistance.co.uk
Source: click4assistance.co.uk

3. Crowdstream.io:

A relatively new live chat solution that also offers light CRM functionality to proactively target customer segments according to their online behaviour. The chat button is customisable, with email alerts to keep you up-to-date with activity and you can even respond to messages when offline as Crowdstream will email you any messages whilst you are away.

The solution allows you to create smart segments with triggers based upon customer behaviour and you can also broadcast messages in a non-intrusive way to all visitors or just to specific customer segments.

The Starter plan (up to 2,000 profiles) is available for just £35 per month, whilst the Growth plan (up to 5,000 profiles) costs £75 per month. A Business plan (up to 25,000 profiles) is also available for £195 per month. All plans include a 14 day Free trial.

Image of Crowdstream.io home page
Source: Crowdstream.io

4. Liveperson:

Offers an enterprise fully customisable live-chat facility including real-time monitoring, allowing chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively tailored. Comprehensive dashboards at campaign-level for understanding how engagement is affecting your KPIs and operational level for how your agents are performing. 30 day Free trial.

Image of Liveperson.com homepage
Source: Liveperson.com

5. Moneypenny:

The UK’s leading small business telephone answering service provider also offers a live chat solution. It offers a 24 hour service and will email key chats directly to you so that you don’t miss out on any urgent business opportunities.

Image of Moneypenny.com Live Chat page
Source: Moneypenny.com

6. Velaro:

Enterprise and small business live chat software which is fully customisable allowing chat windows to be tailored to your business needs. Extensive dashboard enables behaviour of visitors to be tracked and monitored to improve engagement. The missed chat report allows you to view a list of all the times a chat request was made and how an agent responded to the request. Monitor agent login activity using an agent login report which tracks when agents are working, on a break or actively chatting. Has a Free trial offer.

Image of Velero.com homepage
Source: Velero.com

7. Whoson:

Provides a suite of plans from 1 user to enterprise. Provides intelligent targeting for a personalized experience. Dynamically invite visitors with a personalized message based on their predicted requirements. Allows you to create rules and triggers – based on visitor behaviour – with specific actions allowing you to segment visitors into categories such as geographic location and repeat visitors. A 30 day free trial .

Source: whoson.com
Source: whoson.com

8. Zopim + Zendesk:

Offers a unique chat design along with a wide range of contact options to help build customer engagement. Zopim’s services also give you analytical tools for understanding your customers’ needs and making better business decisions. The chat window customisation options are limited to changing your window to match company brand colours.

Source: zopim.com
Source: zopim.com

Conclusion:

Live chat solutions offer a win-win situation. Free trails give you the opportunity to work out which one works best for you and customers get a simple and instant means of contacting you when they need your help. That is not to say you don’t have to put the policies and procedures in place to manage live chat. However, live chat does give you an opportunity to engage with customers when it most matters and encourages a two-way conversation so that both parties benefit.

Does Usability Research Reflect Real Behaviour?

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Does Usability Research Measure Reality?

Usability research is essential for checking whether a site or app is intuitive and easy to navigate to create a great customer experience. It helps inform our decisions about the choice architecture. Remote usability research solutions or face-to-face user interviews identify the main usability problems. Do these methods of research reflect real behaviour?

How many usability research proposals acknowledge that the process of undertaking usability research can influence the behaviour we observe? We may have taken users out their natural environment and set them objectives that lead them to behave in a certain way.

Behavioural scientists have found that many of our decisions are made automatically by our unconscious brain. The context and our underlying psychological goals heavily influence the choices we make. We also behave differently when we are aware that we are being observed.

Asking respondents direct questions is especially problematic as people over-think issues. They switch to their slow, rational brain when encountering a mentally demanding task. Unfortunately most of the time when we are browsing a website we rely on our fast, intuitive, unconscious brain to make decisions without really engaging our conscious thought process. The implication here is that we cannot even access the rationale behind much of our behaviour when interacting with a website.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, fast and slow

“People don’t have reliable insight into their mental processes, so there is no point asking them what they want”.

UserZoom.com prototype testing methods

Source: UserZoom: 

Context is important:

Avoid taking people away from their natural environment if at all possible. Certainly don’t use focus groups as this is about far away of a normal browsing behaviour as you can get. How often do you search the web with a group of people you have never met and discuss your likes and dislikes of the site?

This is why remote user testing methods have an advantage over some face-to-face methods. Participants can be in their normal environment, with their normal distractions and so their behaviour is less likely to be influenced by the testing process. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be some bias as a result of the testing method. But it may be substantially less than techniques which take the user out of their normal browsing environment.

Observe and listen rather than ask:

You will get more meaningful insights from simply observing and listening to your users during a usability test as past behaviour is a more reliable indicator of future behaviour. Try to avoid verbal interventions as much as possible. People don’t like to admit when they do something wrong and you are likely to influence how they then behave in any future tasks. If you do want some verbal feedback, just ask your testers to say what they are doing as they go through the task.

But always keep in the back of your mind that usability testing is about informing your judgement, and not to prove or disprove someone’s opinions. It is also an iterative process that should begin early on in the development of a design.

5 second test UsabilityHub.com

Source: UsabilityHub:

Implicit Research Methods:

Most of our daily choices are made by our fast, intuitive brain which means we don’t have time to rationalise why we are making those decisions. New implicit research techniques such as functional MRI, EEG, biometrics, eye tracking, facial decoding and implicit reaction time studies (IRTs) are allowing marketers to access the sub-conscious part of the brain to better understand how we respond to communications and designs.

Eye tracking research helps identify which specific elements of a page or message attract our attention, but also the communication hierarchy of messages. Heatmaps allows us to display this data to reveal the proportion of visitors who noticed each of the key elements on a page. Plus the frequency and duration of gaze on each element.

Click and mouse movement heatmaps from visual analytics solutions such as Hotjar and Decibel Insights can provide similar insights for existing pages. For true eye tracking research though solutions from Affectiva and Sticky allow for you to evaluate both new and existing web page designs.

Clicktale.com heatmaps

Source: Click Tale:

A/B Test Usability Testing Results:

In the final analysis the only way you will know if a change identified through usability research improved agreed success metrics is to conduct an online experiment in the form a A/B test. It is only when visitors are acting on their own impulses and with their own money that you will see how they behave.

Prioritise the insights you get from usability testing to decide which are worthy of A/B testing. A/B testing will give you the evidence to show exactly how much difference your usability testing has had on your conversion success metrics.

Featured image from Usability Hub now called Lyssna

Voice of The Customer Tools To Boost Conversions

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Do you want to use Voice of the Customer tools to get feedback from your visitors, but not sure how to go about it? I’ve outlined below a best practice guide on how to use online Voice of the Customer tools to gain insights and increase conversions. I’ve also reviewed over 15 online survey tools for you to use.

When to use Voice of the Customer tools?

Asking people questions hours, days, weeks or even months after a visit to your website is not going to deliver very accurate feedback on your customer experience. Our memories have to be reconstructed every time we recall them and as result they change on each occasion they are retrieved.

Voice of the Customer tools though allow you to gather data during the actual experience, allowing customers to express opinions and feelings when or immediately after an event occurs. This provides for much richer and accurate feedback on your site. Online survey tools can catch users in the moment when it is best to obtain feedback.

Surveymonkey.com customer satisfaction

Image Soure: Surveymonkey.com

How To Use Voice of the Customer tools?

On-line Voice of the Customer tools provide an important input into the overall conversion rate optimisation process. Online survey tools can provide valuable insights to reduce friction and help you develop hypothesis to be validated using A/B tests. Online survey tools can also help in a number of areas including:

Why
  • What are visitors looking for when they come to your site and is it meeting their expectations? Identify the main use cases – what are people trying to achieve and are they successful?
Barriers
  • What is preventing users to complete their task? Find out what is preventing visitors from completing everything they set out to do.

Missing information
  • Are visitors finding everything they need on a particular webpage? For example, audit your homepage to compare the content with what customers say they are looking for on your website. Segment the data by new and returning visitors as they may have different requirements. This can help identify unnecessary content on your homepage and highlight other information that you should consider replacing it with.
Competitors
  • Which of your competitors’ sites do your customers use? Digital marketing is a zero-sum game, if you can’t convince your visitors to buy from your website, one of your competitors may be more persuasive.
  • Voice of the Customer tools can be used to identify which competitor sites visitors are going to as their expectations will be influenced by these other sites. If your value proposition and customer experience does not compare favourably with these competitor sites you may struggle to convince visitors to convert.

Typeform.com mobile survey

Image Source: Typeform.com

Value proposition
  • What attracted new visitors to your website? Online survey tools can be used to identify what aspects of your value proposition are most appealing to new customers as this may not be the same as what you have on your website. Use this feedback to develop and test different proportion messages to see if this resonates better with customers.

Nebula by Kampyle

Image Source: Kampyle.com

Bugs
  • When your site is broken visitors can provide you with the evidence you need to fix it. Some on-line tools automate this process so that you can get screen shots and technical details sent directly to an inbox for quick and efficient resolution of problems.

Bugmuncher.com homepage

Exit surveys
  • Online survey tools are ideal for finding out why visitors leave your site. When users have decided to leave your site you have nothing to lose by asking them to provide feedback on what they thought of your site. Ask them if they found what they were looking for or what would make them return to your site.
Abandon basket
  • When someone abandons their basket this is a great opportunity to get their feedback to understand what is behind this behaviour. Has something on your site raised concerns or are they struggling to get the delivery date they require? Any feedback from these customers may help you identify issues that you can seek to resolve to improve your conversion rate. Online survey tools allow you to create a questionnaire and then you can email your customers a link to the survey to find out why the abandoned their basket.

A word of caution about Voice of the Customer tools:

Online survey tools are great, but don’t take what your visitors say literally. People are complex and we are not always fully aware of our own motivations and reasons for the decisions we may. Psychology shows us that cognitive short-cuts (e.g. stereotypes and confirmation bias) and our social networks are important drivers of our behaviour. This is why people will say one thing and do something completely different.

For this reason it is a good idea to validate insights from Voice of Customer tools by looking for supporting evidence from your web analytics, but also review session recording from user experience tools. If you have sufficient traffic you may also want to A/B or multivariate testing to measure the real impact on behaviour. Never only rely on online survey tools for informing decision making as user insights should be supported by other sources of evidence.

Over 15 Online Survey Tools Compared:

1. Bugmuncher:

Enables users to report problem & automatically sends your company screen shots with details of the browser, the operating system, the path they took & even which browser plug-ins they have installed. An ideal solution for any site that has more than its fair share of bugs to fix. Free trial available.

Price:

Plans range from $19 a month for a single user (Personal plan) to $99 for the Corporate plan with up to 5 users. For most small to medium sized companies the Start Up plan at $49 per month offers good value as it allows up to 3 users and 400 reports per month.

Bugmuncher prices page image
2. Feedbackify:

Voice of the Customer tools like Feedbackify use a fully customisable widget to deliver short online surveys for your visitors to complete. The Feedback Dashboard allows you to view answers with full context, including which page it was submitted from, your customer’s geographic location, browser, operating system, screen size etc.

Price:

Offers a Free full-featured 15 day trial. A single subscription plan costs just $19 a month.

Feedbackify price page image
3. Hotjar:

This is a great solution that offers a range of visual analytics solutions (e.g. heatmaps, session recordings, & form analytics) together with customer polls, surveys and an on-site usability recruitment tool. See our review of Hotar analytics for conversion optimisation.

The Free basic service offers up to 3 on-site polls, surveys and recruiters for live usability testing each month. The Pro and Business packages both offer unlimited polls, surveys and usability test recruitment. The Business service also allows you to remove Hotjar branding from the feedback widget.

Price:

The Free Basic plan allows you to run up to 3 polls or surveys a month and obtain up to 300 responses. Pro plans start from €89 a month for up to 20,000 page views a day.

4. InMoment: 

A Voice of the Customer tool that uses an “omnichannel” approach to gathering customer feedback, drawing from various channels such as text, email, video, social media, and more. Most powerfully, through machine-learning “active listening” technology, their platform encourages more in-depth responses from your customers by automatically formulating follow-up questions based on customer input. Finally, their robust analytics and reporting features will gather all your data to show valuable insights, allowing you to make informed business decisions.

Image of inmoment.com homepage

Price:
InMoment is more geared toward enterprise-level companies, and you can request a customised demo. Pricing is determined by location and a company’s specific needs.
5. i-Perceptions:

One of a number of free online survey tools. This delivers a pop up that asks three simple questions to website visitors. The three questions could include: “How would you rate your site experience?”, “What describes the primary purpose of visit?” and “Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?” You can use the feedback to understand how people engage with your website and find opportunities for improvement.

Price:

A Free and Enterprise plan. No prices on the website.

6. Omniconvert:

An optimisation solution that also provides Voice of the Customer tools including a flexible and professional online survey tools. This provides on-click surveys (triggered by clicks on a designated HTML asset), branching logic set up which ensures the questionnaire responds to the user’s answers and a segmentation engine for targeting of specific user groups. You can either serve pop-up surveys or use a widget which appears at the bottom of the page.

Image of www.omniconvert.com survey tools page

Price:

Free for up to 5,000 tested views and offers flexible paid plan (no pricing guidelines shown).

7. Qualaroo:

Offers a customisable widget for desktop and mobile devices. You can target questions to visitors anywhere on your site, and includes exit surveys to capture insights from visitors who are leaving your website.

They offer a Free trial and subscription plans start from $63 a month for desktop. The Professional plan costs $199 a month and includes exit surveys and mobile survey add-on. The Enterprise plan ($499) provides for integration with CRM tools and advanced segmentation.

Qualaroo.com pricing page image
8. Qualtrics:

Offers enterprise Voice of Customer tools that includes Site Interceptor which allows you to survey visitors as they browse your website. A fully flexible offering that includes over 100 different types of questions, drag-and-drop ordering, advanced flow logic, rich text editing, and the ability to include images, videos and audio in surveys. It also allows you to randomize the order of response categories, set quotas and set-up email alerts.

No pricing information on the site.

9. Upwave:

Voice of the Customer tools for those who have never designed questionnaires before and want some advice to complete the process. The tool finds respondents for your survey who meet your target audience from 17 countries by age, gender, geography and custom attributes.

You write your surveys questions, build your questionnaire using their self-service survey tool and an analyst will then review it and suggest edits based upon industry best practice. Upwave will then find the respondents for your survey and provide raw data in an Excel spreadsheet and in Statwing, a free partner analysis tool.

Price:

Plans range from $200 a month for Quick Read for surveys of up to 200 respondents per survey and $2,000 a month for Deep Read which offers up to 2,000 respondents.

10. Alchemer:

Comprehensive online survey tools that can be used to create fully-customisable surveys for distribution through email campaigns in HTML and plain text, on Twitter, Facebook and by embedding them on your website using JavaScript or iFrames.

For mobile forms Alchemer automatically re-formats questions for the device and only displays one question at a time. Mobile surveys also enable use of their File Upload question to gain access to the respondent’s camera and allowing you to capture photos for the study.

Automated reporting tools offer one-click advanced reports and cross-tabs for full analysis of your data. Export data to other data analysis packages. You can also schedule reports and email results to fully automate the reporting process.

Price:

Plans range from just $25 a month for Basic which offers over 30 question types and $95 a month for Premier. An Enterprise plan offers multi-user access for an unspecified price.

11. SurveyMonkey:

One of the most well-known and popular online survey tools that enables the creation of most types of surveys, including web, email, mobile, social media, and automated telephone surveys. If you need to find respondents, SurveyMonkey Audience allows you to define your target audience and will then provide you with the feedback you require.

Offers 15+ types of questions, customisable logo and branding and the ability to set skip logic by page and question. Fully integrated with the likes of MailChimp and Eventbrite. Comprehensive real-time reporting available, together with text analysis, SPSS integration, custom reporting, cross-tabs and presentation-ready charts and reports. A Free plan is available for 10 questions and up to 100 responses per survey.

Price:

Subscription plans start from £26 a month (Select) for up to 1,000 responses to £65 a month for Platinum that offers an unlimited number of responses.

Surveymonkey.com pricing plan page image

 12. Surveypal:

One of the most popular Voice of the Customer tools. It positions itself as an enterprise survey tool that uses an intuitive drag and drop style editor to make it easy to build high quality online and cross-device surveys. You can also choose to edit one of their professionally designed templates if you prefer.

They also offer customer support via phone, email and built-in live chat to make the process stress free as possible. All support staff are engineers which means you can expect to receive a high level of technical support to quickly resolve any problems.

Allows you to set up automated email alerts based upon your own business rules to instantly respond to certain types of customers or responses. A flexible reporting tool which provides automated visual presentations in a variety of formats such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, SPSS and as an interactive dashboard.

Surveypal integrates with Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce and many other apps. Their API also allows you to send, receive and track surveys. A Free plan is available for up to 100 responses.

Price:

Subscription plans cost $40 a month for Premium for 1,000 responses per month. An Enterprise plan is also available with an unlimited number of responses per month.

Surveypal.com pricing page image
13. Temper:

People are emotional creatures and Temper uses smiley faces for its Voice of Customer tools to measure how customer feel about your organisation and the topics you ask them questions about.

It offers three options for delivery of surveys.

  1. Tab – Shows up at the bottom right of every page you install it on.
  2. Inline – Is positioned within your page anywhere you’d like to get feedback on a specific item or experience.
  3. Email – At the end of an email which is great for gauging how your customer support interactions are performing.
Price:

A 60 day money-back guarantee is available on all plans. Subscription plans range from Hobby at $12 a month to White Label at $199 a month.

14. Typeform:

Voice of the Customer tools that aims to delight respondents, keeping them focused on one question at a time and the versatility of their forms. Provides an enterprise survey tool for use across all devices. Offers Free plan (Core) for basic users.

Price:

The Pro plans costs $20 a month with unlimited typeforms and responses. A Pro+ for teams is currently under development.

15. UserReport:

A Free tool that offers both online survey tools and feedback forums. The online survey tool allows you to ask for feedback about your website and gather visitor demographics in over 60 languages. You can either use the ‘ready-to-go survey or customise with your own logo, colours and questions. Survey results are presented in intuitive reports that can be easily shared and exported as PDF or raw data.

The feedback forums give you the opportunity to gather ideas on how to improve your website. It also allows users to report bugs, submit issues, comment on and vote for ideas online. It works across devices and is fully customisable.

Price:

The solution is currently Free. 

16. UserEcho:

Offers a suite of online survey tools for better customer service and engagement. The main customer feedback tool is their Ideas Forum which enables customers to ask questions, share ideas and learn. Customers can vote and you can gather critical feedback of what they like or dislike.

Users can login via popular social networks which eliminates the need to go through a registration process. In addition, the Knowledge Base will automatically search for answers when a user writes a query, and in the case of a match will display the item to the user.

UserEcho also enables live chat conversations with visitors on your site. 15 day Free trial.

Price:

A single plan is available for £15 a month

17Uservoice:

Voice of the Customer tools that offers a all-in-one product management platform to make it easy to give customers, partners or internal teams a voice with private labelled feedback forums. You can collect customer feedback on web or mobile with a native user experience.

Uservoice does not require your customers to register which encourages participating. The forums work by visitors raising a ticket and then vote or discuss ideas and possible solutions. The tickets contain useful information on the user including their OS, browser and the page from which the ticket was raised.

Price:

Basic plan costs $499 a month and the Premium is $999 a month. An Enterprise solution is also available with quotations on request.

18. Voice Polls:

Create questions or use existing templates to poll your website visitors by embedding surveys onto your website or blog. If you agree to sponsored polls behind your own polls you will earn revenue for every sponsored opinion collected from your site. You can browse trending polls from other users add those to your website to see if they improve engagement with your site.

Voice Polls are a Free tool for online publishers. They can help you grow your traffic, engage your reader, learn from them, discover who they are and bring some interactivity on your pages.

Price:

For non-publishers each question is priced at $12.50 and $0.05 per completed survey.

19. WebEngage:

Voice of the Customer tools that offers surveys, feedback forms and in-depth information (including screen grabs) to obtain and resolve customer problems and notification to display messages to specific audiences (e.g. shopping cart drop-off).

Survey:
  • Collect insights from visitors. Target questionnaires at specific audiences using rule builder. Get real-time analytics and reports.
Feedback:
  • Add context to your feedback form with custom fields and automatic screen grab features.
Notification:
  • A push messaging tool which lets you display offers, discount codes, product launch announcements etc. to visitors with real-time statistics.
Price:

Plans range from $49 for Basic to $949 per month for the Enterprise Lite solution.

Use Voice of the Customer tools today!

Many of these online survey tools provide free trials and many have free plans so there is no reason not to give online Voice of the Customer tools a go. Further, using such tools can also help encourage a more customer centric approach to optimisation and website development. People are naturally curious about what potential and actual customers think about their ideas and designs so assist this process by giving your colleagues the opportunity to capture such feedback.

Can Video Mystery Shopping Protect Your Brand?

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Using Research To Protect Brand Reputation:

Video mystery shopping is a contentious research methodology. However, rarely does a month go by without hearing about another mis-selling scandal in financial services or some other regulated sector. Given the ramifications of the 2008 financial crisis you would expect more monitoring of firms behaviour. This is especially important in retail financial services where poor advice can be very costly to customers, It may have long term consequences on their lifestyle.

Given reputation and good will is critical in all businesses. It is essential that your customers have confidence that you have the right controls in place to identify when service levels and advice are consistently below expected standards.

MONITORING CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS:

In one of my research roles I came across a company who assured me that they could measure real customer interactions by sitting next to advisers and recording their telephone conversation with customers. I was told that this would not influence their behaviour because the advisers were dealing with business transactions. Sales management were also comfortable with this approach.

This is clearly a fallacy. There is plenty of research that indicates it is human nature to behave differently, as people are more careful to follow standard procedures. They want to portray themselves in a good light with everyone concerned.

A number of years ago I had to establish a programme of research to monitor service standards and identify training needs for an insurance company’s direct sales force. Each sales person was already evaluated on a regular basis during a normal sales visit. The vast majority of sales people passed these assessments without much trouble. The question was whether these observations were a true reflection of their normal behaviour.

EVALUATING FACE-TO-FACE SERVICE & ADVICE:

  • To ensure an accurate and detailed evaluation of service standards and behaviour, I established a program of regular video mystery shopping surveys. We recruited people who met the basic customer profile and gave them a very simple scenario (customer need) to follow. This allowed the customer to use their own details as much as possible.

THE RESULTS:

  • Sales management and Legal were shocked by the findings. There was a total lack of consistency in the sales process and most advisers did not perform to expected standards. This was valuable feedback though. A great deal of effort went in to improving the customer experience and the standard of advice given.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH:

  • Only video mystery shopping (using a hidden camera) can accurately capture every element of customer interactions. This ensures there is no disagreement about what was said and done. The sales process in FS is too long and complex to be able to rely on the memory of a mystery shopper.
  • It is difficult for anyone to ignore video mystery shopping of poor or misleading advice. This is partly because video mystery shopping evidence can capture the whole sales experience. Regulators have access to material when they visit companies and they will expect to see evidence of corrective action.
  • There was no correlation between customer satisfaction and the adviser’s compliance with basic standards for advice giving. This is perhaps not surprising as why should a customer understand details of the advice process. It also confirms that Voice of the Customer research should not be used as an indicator of the quality of advice provided.
  • Video mystery shopping can be a powerful aid to change. The videos allow advisers to see the interaction from the customer’s point of view. They encourage changes in behaviour that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Each adviser was able to view their video with their manager and agree a detailed personal development plan to address any issues identified.
  • To evaluate the output from video mystery shopping you need the input of trainers to assess the quality of service. Each company has its own standards. You need a good understanding of regulatory requirements to accurately evaluate the service and advice.

OVERALL CONCLUSION:

  • The findings suggested to me that the regulatory framework is too complex and prescriptive. The focus should be on giving customers good service and advice rather than ticking boxes and following set procedures. Video mystery shopping is the most effective way of demonstrating how complex the process is from the customer and adviser’s perspective.
  • People need to be able to trust advisers, particularly when dealing with money issues. However, a minority of people will always have a tendency to cheat or cut corners. There also needs to be controls in place to spot such rogue behaviours. It is human nature and it happens in every sector. Video mystery shopping is an excellent tool it can capture the reality of the customer experience and the nature of advice given. With the correct controls in place it can be a catalyst for positive change in an organisation. It is a means for identifying potential mis-selling.

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